According to recent statistics about asthma and African Americans, there is a lot to be concerned about. Black people were 40 percent more likely to develop asthma and almost 3 million had been diagnosed up to 2018. With a hospitalization rate that was 5 times higher than other ethnicities, it’s no surprise that more African Americans face death from asthma-related complications. If you’ve been dealing with asthma, you need to know how severe the illness can be and how to get the help that you need.
What’s Severe Asthma?
Asthma is generally categorized based on how well it responds to the regular treatment options that are available. When symptoms aren’t alleviated through the use of the usual corticosteroid inhalers, this is a sign of severe, chronic asthma. Persons who are given this diagnosis usually experience symptoms throughout the day and may have an asthma attack more easily than someone who has mild to moderate asthma. Worse yet, these asthma attacks tend to be more problematic as they will not respond to usual treatment measures.
Persons with severe asthma can expect the following experiences:
- 24-hour long asthma
- Being awoken by asthma symptoms nightly
- Limited physical activity because of asthma symptoms
- Needing more intensive treatment like short-acting beta 2-agonist therapy daily
- Having a forced expiratory volume (FEV 1) that is less than 60% of the expected rate
How Severe Asthma Is Diagnosed
To be diagnosed with severe asthma, you will need to be thoroughly examined by a doctor. The examination is likely to include a physical assessment as well as breathing or lung function tests. Don’t be surprised if it takes some time before you’re officially diagnosed with severe asthma as your doctor will need to ensure that your symptoms aren’t responding to regular treatment before making that call.
If you’re diagnosed with severe asthma, it doesn’t stop there. Doctors know that this level of respiratory illness is difficult to manage so the next step is typically to determine the type of severe asthma you have so it can be effectively treated. The two main categories are Type-2 inflammation and Non-Type-2 inflammation.
The former category involves inflammation that can be treated with corticosteroid medication while the latter category does not respond well to that kind of treatment.
Possible Treatment Options
Once the type of severe asthma is identified, your doctor will be able to determine what to prescribe to you. The medication may include oral corticosteroids, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and other drugs that can help to address the underlying cause of the illness. Typically, you’ll be given medication that must be taken daily as well as those that must be used when having an attack.